The time has come to put the misery of last week behind us, I have wanted to do this since moments after the Giants defeated our beloved Cowboys on Sunday night. This has been very difficult for me to do, and hopefully the players on this team have struggled as badly as I.
Let’s take a look at what we have in store for us on Monday night when the Carolina Panthers come to town.
The Panthers are almost a mirror image of this Cowboys team in many ways. They have a very strong rushing attack, led by DeAngelo Williams and Johnathan Stewart. This pair of tailbacks is leading the Panthers ground game at just over four yards per carry.
Much like the Cowboys the Panthers offense depends heavily on how effective the rushing attack can be.
John Fox the Carolina Panthers head coach must like Wade Phillips rely on a very streaky Quarterback to lead his team. Jake Delhomme has moments of brilliance, much the same as Tony Romo. Unfortunately for both players and coaches those moments are usually followed quickly by moments of shear stupidity!
The Panthers finished last season with a 12 and 4 record only to get shellacked at home by the eventual NFC Super Bowl representative (a game that they were heavily favored to win) and ended their season prematurely.
It seems the Panthers end up on the same roller coaster the Cowboys have been on for 12 years now! Just when you think they are going to make a push, the wheels fall completely off the bus.
This off season this Carolina team has been riddled with injuries and contract disruptions, none of this has helped them get off to a good start.
After a classic Delhomme meltdown in week one against the Eagles (in which he was benched during the game), they lost a respectable game to the Atlanta Falcons.
I warn you all however, do not think this will be a cake walk win for the “Home Team” ! The Panthers are a very prideful team, and they are fighting to save their season. Expect John Fox to have his defense fired up and ready to fight come Monday night.
Through the first two games of the year Fox’s defense has been rather shaky, giving up almost five yards per carry on the ground. Where they have been strong however is in the secondary.
They have faced two of the leagues best QB’s in McNabb and Ryan and have allowed an average of 151 through the air per contest. They also can create turnovers as through the first two games they have recorded 2 INT. and 2 Fumbles.
The Dallas offense must account for a few players on the Carolina Defense, these guys will absolutely make their night tough if they do not know where they are on every play.
- Julius Peppers
- Jon Beason
- Thomas Davis
How will the Panthers defense decide to attack the Cowboys offense? Well my
Guess is that they will follow the lead of the Giants and Bucs, and load the line of scrimmage with 8 men to try to stop the Cowboy ground attack, and dare Tony Romo and the boys to beat them through the air.
If Tony Romo and the rest of the offense is ready, and prepared they will have the opportunity to rip this game wide open very quickly, but if they let this team stay around well they are going to find themselves in a real brawl!
The Panthers Offense much like the Cowboys are going to use their wealth of backs to open up the passing lanes for Delhomme. Do not forget that Jake has one of the most electrifying receivers in the league at his disposal, you know the real Steve Smith! Not the imitation one that torched the Cowboys secondary just 3 days ago.
The Cowboys will not be able to continue to allow their safeties to take chances by playing close to the line of scrimmage. Whoever draws the assignment of Mr. Smith is going to need help, so they best be ready, and in position to do so.
I cannot express to you and to the Cowboys how extreme the situation is as far as them being able to create pressure! This Cowboy team can only go as far as their defense will take them, they MUST get the lack of pressure problems fixed, and it must begin now!
This may be the most crucial game of the year for the Cowboys, a loss on Monday night could cause this team to spiral out of control much worse than last year! They have an opportunity here to get things going in the right direction and begin to come together.
The Cowboys defense is saying all the right things and showing emotion which is great and I am glad to hear it, but the time for talk is gone, only results matter now!
I have never been big on predicting things especially when it comes to the Cowboys, but I feel an urge to predict this week.
So my prediction is the Cowboys come out firing on all cylinders, scoring early and often, and put the game away before the end of the third quarter.
COWBOYS – 35
PANTHERS - 13
WR Randall Cobb Named Cowboys “Surprise Standout” for Offseason
NFL teams have wrapped up their offseason activities with the close of OTAs, especially where the players are concerned, and await the start of training camps next month. In reviewing the last few months, ESPN had their local reporters each pick a surprise standout from their team's practices. Todd Archer, who covers the Dallas Cowboys full time, selected veteran receiver Randall Cobb.
Cobb is in his first season with Dallas after signing as a free agent last March. He's spent the last eight years with the Green Bay Packers and was a Pro Bowler in 2014, but has struggled with injuries the last few seasons.
Here were Archer's observations on how Randall is doing so far with the Cowboys:
Normally a player with Cobb's résumé -- 470 catches for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns during his career -- would not be considered for a category like this. But injuries limited him to only nine games and 38 catches for Green Bay in 2018, and it was hard to know what the Cowboys were getting in the veteran receiver.
If the offseason work is any indication, they have found a replacement for Cole Beasley. Cobb's versatility can expand the offense for others, such as Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Cobb looked quick in and out of his breaks and fast enough to make plays down the field. Will he put up the 1,287 yards he had in 2014? No, but he gives Dak Prescott a security blanket in the slot who can turn a small gain into a big one.
The notion of Cobb replacing Beasley is a big one. While we'd like to think that Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup will provide plenty of firepower for the Cowboys offense, Dak Prescott has enjoyed a reliable threat from the slot position since he arrived.
Randall Cobb, when healthy, can do more than just make clutch catches. He has good run-after-catch skills and perhaps bring more big play potential than Beasley did.
If Cooper and Gallup do emerge as a dangerous starting duo on the outside, Cobb should have even more opportunities to punish defenses than Beasley did.
If nothing else, it's very encouraging to hear that one of the Cowboys' few 2019 free agent moves is already reaping benefits. Cobb still needs to bring it over a full season to really justify the move, but these early reports are cause for excitement.
BREAKING: Cowboys TE Rico Gathers Receives One-Game Suspension
Tight End Rico Gathers already had an uphill climb to return to the Dallas Cowboys' 53-man roster in 2019. But that climb just got even steeper; the NFL handed down a one-game suspension to Gathers today for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
If he does make the team this year, with Dallas or anyone else, Rico will have to sit out Week One of the season without pay.
Cowboys TE Rico Gathers is suspended without pay for the first game of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL's policy and program on substances of abuse. This is from his arrest in 2018 for marijuana possession.
Gathers' chances of returning in 2019 were already hurt by Jason Witten's reversed retirement. He dropped to fourth on the TE depth chart behind Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz, and Dallas only kept three tight ends last year.
The Cowboys also added Codey McElroy as a developmental player during the offseason.
While the suspension is news, the incident that led to it is not. Dallas already knew about the arrest, which occurred in early September of 2018, and have kept Gathers around up until now.
The NFL's substance abuse system is pretty formulaic, so the Cowboys likely anticipated this suspension all along. This may not change anything about how they value Rico Gathers for the 2019 season.
Nevertheless, a player who can't help you in Week One and is a liability for ever longer suspensions down the road is definitely a red flag against Gathers' job security.
Antwaun Woods: Cowboys DT is Just Getting Started
Antwaun Woods went undrafted in 2016 coming out of USC. After two years with the Tennessee Titans, he would only see one game of action. In May of 2018, the Cowboys signed Woods to a two-year contract worth 1.05 million. Probably seen as nothing more than a practice squad guy, Woods would quickly show he was much more than that.
The newly acquired Woods started his climb to stardom in Oxnard during training camp, and not for making plays. One day during practice he got into a friendly game of fisticuffs with All-Pro Center Travis Frederick. The team even posted the video on social media, which had fans buzzing and wanting to know who he was.
All-Pro Running Back Ezekiel Elliott echoed those thoughts when he saw Woods during camp. "Honestly, when we first got him, we were like, 'Who is this guy?'. He was giving Travis Frederick, one of our best players, hell all camp. Just trying to figure out where this guy came from," Elliott said.
Once the regular season started it was clear the Cowboys had found a hidden gem. Although the sack numbers won't dazzle you, seeing as he only registered 1.5, you could forget about running the ball anywhere near him. Woods has amazing quickness for a 300 pounder which allows him to extend his arms before offensive lineman can get a hand on him.
How significant is that? It becomes that much easier to bull rush and blow running plays up in the backfield.
When you can get your hands on an offensive lineman immediately when the ball is snapped, he's basically under your control. You can move him around like a puppet on a string. Essential for a 1-technique nose tackle. With that being said, there should be no surprise the Cowboys finished fifth against the run in 2018 with Woods manning the middle.
Woods draws a lot of double teams, and he handles them well. Having the ability to take on multiple linemen frees up your other playmakers. As the anchor in the middle, Woods made life a lot easier for not only his fellow defensive linemen but the team's two young star Linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. Allowing them to roam freely like Lions in the Serengeti makes running backs essentially Zebra's carrying the ball, cooked food. So much so that both tallied over 120 tackles and were the only teammates in the NFL to rank in the top 15 in that category.
There's nothing but upside with Antwaun Woods. He's only had 18 games of experience in three years. He's already a stud, but with limited snaps, it can only mean he'll be even more formidable going forward.
The Cowboys have a loaded defensive lineman group with around 15 bodies, plenty of competition. All signs point to him remaining the starter, but it's not guaranteed. Even with that being said I don't expect a complacency from Woods, especially with DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn looking like the only sure starters on the defensive line. Plus this is a contract year for him, so you know he'll be even more motivated as he tries to maximize his dollars. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg from this raw talent, setting up for a potential breakout year for him in 2019.
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